Business Irish

Friday 28 April 2017

Quarter now shop online, but Ireland trailing UK

PwC survey found that 71pc of Irish consumers shop at Amazon. Stock image
PwC survey found that 71pc of Irish consumers shop at Amazon. Stock image
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

A QUARTER of Irish consumers now shop online at least every week and 23pc of shoppers here bought most or all of their clothing and footwear online last year, according to a new report from PwC.

It found that 30pc of Irish consumers believe their phone will become their main shopping tool in the future.

However, 44pc of Irish respondents to the PwC survey said they have never used their phone to buy products online.

The survey also underscored the untapped potential for online shopping in Ireland.

The PwC report showed that Ireland's level of weekly online shopping is well below the 43pc of UK shoppers who shop over the internet every week. In China, the figure is 73pc.

It also found that 27pc of Irish consumers have never visited a grocery retail website in the previous 12 months.

The report on the online buying habits of Irish consumers is part of a global survey of 24,000 people undertaken during the winter. The Irish element included a survey of 1,000 people.

PwC said that the relatively undeveloped Irish online grocery market is an underlying factor in why Ireland lags behind the UK for overall weekly online shopping usage.

The biggest grocery retailer in the country - Dunnes Stores - has no online grocery presence yet, despite having teed up such an operation over the past couple of years.

John Dillon, a partner at PwC Ireland's retail and consumer practice, warned that the "stakes have never been higher" for individual retailers.

"In a golden age of choice, powered by the mobile phone and global shopping just a click away, retailers often lack a global brand and face technological upheavals leaving them constantly having to reinvent themselves," he said.

But the report also found that in-store shopping remains a key activity for many Irish shoppers.

It reported that 40pc of Irish respondents shopped in-store at least once a week.

Some online giants are even opening traditional brick-and-mortar outlets.

This week, Amazon opened its fourth physical bookshop in the United States, in Massachusetts.

Amazon selects the books it sells in the stores based on its website reviews.

The PwC survey found that 71pc of Irish consumers shop at Amazon, compared to 90pc in the UK. A quarter of Amazon shoppers here said they shopped less often at other retail outlets.

Weak sterling since last June's Brexit vote caused a surge in the number of Irish shoppers buying online from UK websites.

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